Page 319 - Tricks of the Track

3rd Aug 2013, 6:00 AM in Swarm of the Century
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Tricks of the Track
Average Rating: 5 (4 votes)
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Author Notes:

Newbiespud 3rd Aug 2013, 6:00 AM edit delete
When it comes to planning in a tabletop game situation, I find that the schemes tend to come in four major flavors: the straightforward, the violent, the crazy, and the thing the DM intended for you to do.

Notice: Guest comic submissions are open! Guidelines here. Deadline: January 27th, 2023.



TheStratovarian 3rd Aug 2013, 6:02 AM edit delete reply
The voice of the thief or rogue tends to be the one to likely agree with the idea the dm has. After all, they are the ones to remove, 'harmful impediments' that exist to bar the way.

Still, a nice bit of wondering just what a pile of bones is going to do.. Huh, fun puzzle..
Zuche 3rd Aug 2013, 6:04 AM edit delete reply
I'd assumed Pinkie's goal was to use the bones as bait for the dogs.
TheStratovarian 3rd Aug 2013, 6:07 AM edit delete reply
I think she could start a rather good tribal beat and bowie-ize them with rhythmic grace and power in old fashioned rock and roll?

But yeah, lets go with your suggestion.
Digo 3rd Aug 2013, 6:24 AM edit delete reply
That was my thought as well. Maybe add a trail of Scooby snacks to the bone as a bonus.
TheStratovarian 3rd Aug 2013, 6:33 AM edit delete reply
If the bones are already down here, and cast aside, wouldn't that mean the dogs were done with them, after all, no dog likes a secondhand femur, because its just not the right radius for them.
Raxon 3rd Aug 2013, 9:15 AM edit delete reply
Speaking of scooby snacks, have I told you about my timid paladin? He serves Sinesto, god of fear and whimpering shamefully. He has a problem with substance abuse, and a celestial dog mount, I forget the proper term.

Due to his patron deity, he is not immune to fear. You know you love it.
Tatsurou 3rd Aug 2013, 11:09 AM edit delete reply
Raxon, please tell me your paladin says "Zoiks!"
Raxon 3rd Aug 2013, 11:37 AM edit delete reply
No, but the dog is female. Her name is Ruby.
Digo 4th Aug 2013, 8:29 AM edit delete reply
Hahaha, well played!
Guest 3rd Aug 2013, 11:23 AM edit delete reply
I have found the best paladin!
guest 3rd Aug 2013, 3:33 PM edit delete reply
I assumed she was going the necromancy route, get the bones to check the paths
FanOfMostEverything 4th Aug 2013, 7:45 AM edit delete reply
She's Pinkie. Whatever you're pondering, it isn't what she's pondering.
Raxon 4th Aug 2013, 1:39 PM edit delete reply
What are we going to do tomorrow night?
Demonu 4th Aug 2013, 1:57 PM edit delete reply
The same thing we do every night, Deadpool.
you know that guy 4th Aug 2013, 8:37 PM edit delete reply
Try to take over the comic book!
kriss1989 5th Aug 2013, 8:34 AM edit delete reply
Try to get Amlgem revived!

Their Question and the Pool, Question and the Pool,
One is paranoid, the other is a fool...
aqua 5th Aug 2013, 8:27 PM edit delete reply
track down the people behind conspiracies. . . and point dead pool at them?
Zuche 3rd Aug 2013, 6:02 AM edit delete reply
How about the one based on the sort of thing somebody's favourite character (or author) does all the time?
TheStratovarian 3rd Aug 2013, 6:05 AM edit delete reply
Or the twitch reactions some folks do when you reach the unguarded or honest result of out-thinking the dm, and the module if you are playing one. The fun, "Wait, its unguarded?!?" and cue the best game of paranoia without the board game ever being needed.
Philadelphus 3rd Aug 2013, 11:50 AM edit delete reply
I was playing a campaign of Pony Tales once where our party was trying to get through what we expected to be a series of trapped tunnels and rooms as a training exercise. We get into the first room, and the GM starts rattling off a strange series of descriptions (stuff like "It's painted blue on the ceiling and one wall, there's a table with yellow flowers in a vase on it in one corner, there are buckets of green and yellow paint with paintbrushes sitting on the floor, etc."). It all sounds like a complicated and obtuse puzzle, right? While everyone else is absorbing this description, the very first thing my character does is amble across the room to the exit and try the door, just to assure myself that it was indeed locked.

The door turns out to be unlocked.

I couldn't believe it was that simple of a solution, and proceeded to check the door and hallway beyond it for traps for several minutes after the GM had assured us that, no, there are NO traps anywhere on the door or in the hallway, it really was just an exercise in over-thinking solutions.
Parchment Scroll 6th Aug 2013, 4:08 AM Wow, Uh... edit delete reply
My first thought on that description? It sounds like something out of minecraft.


I need to stop. It's affecting my everything.
Demonu 3rd Aug 2013, 6:19 AM edit delete reply
You forgot the fifth major flavor: the stupid.
TheStratovarian 3rd Aug 2013, 6:22 AM edit delete reply
Fantastic Selection tends to weed them out, except if they are good friends with the party cleric or druid. Then its more fun to see just how far they can go when they stick their fingers all sorts of places that get them into trouble. Lady luck does favor those oddly enough.
Digo 3rd Aug 2013, 6:26 AM edit delete reply
In my group, the stupid ideas go hand-in-hand with the violent ones so it's like the same thing... >_>
Oblivious 3rd Aug 2013, 9:43 AM edit delete reply
No, stupid is it's own category, like when one of the players tries to talk his way out of giving a bugbear his gold by eating one of the coins, and trying to pass it off as trail rations.
Raxon 3rd Aug 2013, 9:17 AM edit delete reply
Stupid and crazy often go hand in hand, then slip off for a quickie in the bushes.

We're just friends though. Friends with benefits.

Stupid is a fine girl cat thing, but not what you'd call relationship material.
Digo 4th Aug 2013, 8:31 AM edit delete reply
Hey now, don't lump all catgirls into that category! All of my catgirl characters are intelligent types. :D

Honest. My d20 Modern catgirl had 3 levels in "Smart Hero" and 1 in "Mage".
Kynrasian 3rd Aug 2013, 6:54 AM edit delete reply
With ours there's the fifth flavour: Rube Goldberg

This actually happened to us. The party had managed to sneak up on a group of kobolds and was about to launch an attack, when one of them started coming up with the most convoluted plan to launch an ambush on the kobolds. I've probably mentioned this before, but it involved throwing the dwarven cleric over a fence and on top of a kobold.

Overanalysis is Magic...
TheStratovarian 3rd Aug 2013, 7:00 AM edit delete reply
But danged if it wasn't amazing when a plan worked I bet?
Kynrasian 3rd Aug 2013, 7:29 PM edit delete reply
But of course. I love it when a plan comes together.
deeman45 3rd Aug 2013, 8:19 AM edit delete reply
I remember back when I GM'd for a group of newbies. A minor obstacle came up in the adventure and everyone in the group just sort of stared at me, waiting for me to tell them how to get past it.

ME: guys! Don't get me into this habit! You'll regret it later on, I swear!
Destrustor 3rd Aug 2013, 8:23 AM edit delete reply
I'm more familiar with the "no possible way this shouldn't result in our collective suicide but we still make it through sheer dumb luck" kind of plan.
Or maybe that's just a sub-flavor of "crazy"?
Lyntermas 3rd Aug 2013, 9:46 AM edit delete reply
...DM, you're telling the attention-to-detail wizard that she can copy ANY spell that she's observed once? Yeah, that's not going to come back to bite you at all.
Philadelphus 3rd Aug 2013, 11:53 AM edit delete reply
You know, has Twilight actually observed Rarity's spell in-character? Has Twilight's player even seen the spell out of character?
you know that guy 4th Aug 2013, 8:40 PM edit delete reply
Or indeed in the show even.
Tatsurou 3rd Aug 2013, 11:14 AM edit delete reply
Deviation of Story Time!
If you were in this group at this time, what would your plan be?
My plan:
Twilight sends a loud noise spell straight up, tuned to a super high frequency. Follow the sound of yowls of pain.
Alternatively, Pinkie Pie pulls out a dog whistle (either from her inventory or AJ's, since she's got Winona) and blows it as hard as she can. Again, follow the sound of pained yowling.

When you find the Diamond Dogs, keep blowing the whistle until they agree to do anything to make it stop. Make them give up Rarity and anything they have that could be considered loot, as well as a guide to guide them safely out of the caverns.

Once you have the whole party, the guide, and the loot, kill all the dogs but the guide so the guide knows what will happen to him if he tries to stab you in the back. Once you're safely outside, make sure no one important is around, then kill the guide and dump him back into one of the big holes.
NeutralDemon 3rd Aug 2013, 11:24 AM edit delete reply
Walabio 3rd Aug 2013, 12:37 PM If I would be Pinkamena Diane Pie, My plan would be. … edit delete reply
If I would be Pinkamena Dian Pie, my plan would be to build right then and their a timemachine as crazy as the flying machine I built for following RainBow Dash and Gilda, travel a quarter of a millennium into the future, steal the equipment the Enclave will use for controlling HellHounds, return to the present, and use the equipment for forcing the DiamondDogs to relinquish Rarity.

¡Rube Goldberg would be proud!
Raxon 3rd Aug 2013, 12:44 PM edit delete reply
She has to wear the moustache. It is essential.
Walabio 3rd Aug 2013, 11:10 PM ¡Indeed! edit delete reply
Raxon 3rd Aug 2013, 12:44 PM:

> “She has to wear the moustache. It is essential.”

Newbiespud 3rd Aug 2013, 12:31 PM edit delete reply
My Borderlands 2: Assault on Dragon Keep LP continues, for those of you that are interested.
Robin Bobcat 3rd Aug 2013, 1:05 PM edit delete reply
Best Pony ever.
Rokas 3rd Aug 2013, 5:29 PM edit delete reply
of course, some of us prefer straightforward, violent, and crazy to be all in the plan at the same time.
kajisora 3rd Aug 2013, 5:55 PM edit delete reply
replace violent with willfully stupid, and you just described most of my plans ^^
Raxon 3rd Aug 2013, 9:05 PM edit delete reply
You want crazy? I have a bard spell! I'll give you crazy!

I don't feel like writing the details out in proper format, so here's the gist of it.

It's a minor power word spell designed to coax targets out of hiding. Anyone who is hiding must make a will save, or respond in kind.

TechUnadept 3rd Aug 2013, 10:56 PM Marco? edit delete reply
sidhe3141 4th Aug 2013, 7:34 AM edit delete reply
Huh. And I was expecting something like this:
Ace the Eagle 5th Aug 2013, 12:27 AM edit delete reply
To sidhe3141
That reminds me of a bard we had once he was basically a toon
Rokas 4th Aug 2013, 11:40 PM edit delete reply
...Raxon... you Magnificent Bastard, you.
Raxon 5th Aug 2013, 12:59 AM edit delete reply
Did you read my book? Come to think of it, I really need to finish that. The title is "Subduing The Elderly: When Kung Fu Is Not Enough" I need to go over my notes, but the implications are that nursing homes are filled with dangerous beings called The Old Folk. Their kung fu is too great for mortals, so it tells about other strategies and techniques to defeat them.

It is a very silly thing.
Guest 6th Aug 2013, 1:12 AM edit delete reply
there's a will save for that?
Argonessen 3rd Aug 2013, 11:53 PM edit delete reply
You want crazy? I'll SHOW YOU CRAZY! ...Every other Friday I play in a game of D&D First Edition. Now THAT'S maddening! Drive you bonkers and bonnets, it will!
Raxon 5th Aug 2013, 4:10 AM edit delete reply
Try marathoning two games at once,I wanted to do it with toon and werewolf the apocalypse. I don't know either game, but toon is a game based on rule of funny. How complicated can it be? And I learn fast. Yes, I am crazy enough to try to learn two completely opposite games at the same time, on the fly, in a 24 hour period.

I am no longer on speaking terms with that gm for the suggestion.
Vellikat 4th Aug 2013, 1:07 AM edit delete reply
Aww, they do the same thing as in the actual episode? Lame.
Newbiespud 4th Aug 2013, 1:58 AM edit delete reply
Wait and see...
Ace the Eagle 4th Aug 2013, 5:43 AM edit delete reply
Can I wait and lake instead?
DoubleCross 4th Aug 2013, 6:28 AM edit delete reply
If you do a joke like that again I'll put this car in rivers.
Midnight Blaze 4th Aug 2013, 6:53 AM edit delete reply
Yeah, don't make us turn this comment section around!
you know that guy 4th Aug 2013, 8:41 PM edit delete reply
Water they going to do?
Guest 5th Aug 2013, 12:20 AM edit delete reply
Lake and sea
Tatsurou 5th Aug 2013, 2:21 PM edit delete reply
Cease with these puns! I will brook no opposition! You're making me stream!
Newbiespud 4th Aug 2013, 10:17 AM edit delete reply
So... I'm considering running ads on the site.

This is not a position I expected to be in when this whole webcomic thing got started. On one hand, in my financial situation, I could really use the money. On the other hand, I use AdBlock myself for a reason (although I give certain sites exceptions), because I find ads rather pathologically annoying. For that reason, I'm really torn on this idea.

I'd like to monetize if I could, but I'd hate to tick off the readers. Can some of you chime in on this? Would you mind ads if I put them up on the site?
TheStratovarian 4th Aug 2013, 10:39 AM edit delete reply
For you spud, i'd let this page do ads to give you revenue to help out. I'd hate to see fid have to pause given what a very enjoyable place it is.
Disguised 4th Aug 2013, 11:21 AM Bane of cookies and anything chocolate edit delete reply
Sure you can haz ads, I'll even unblock this site form adblock.
Bootleg 4th Aug 2013, 12:05 PM edit delete reply
This is a great site, I personally wouldn't mind seeing ads on it if they would be helpful to the person responsible. Have at it, Sir!
Raxon 4th Aug 2013, 1:42 PM edit delete reply
I do not use adblock, but I do use flashblock. It stops those annoying talking ads that can't be muted.

As long as you don't stoop to talking ads, I do not mind at all.
Anon 4th Aug 2013, 1:56 PM Ads edit delete reply
Hi, long-time lurker here, don't like ads but really like the comic. I'd be willing to unblock them, so long as they're not too intrusive.
Raxon 4th Aug 2013, 2:35 PM edit delete reply
Agreed! We will accept the ads, on the condition that they don't make noise! Because grr they are terrible and I hate them and they keep showing up no matter how many times I reload the page and they interfere with my music and then I lose my saves, and the mice don't go to the hole, and the cat steals the butter and the necromorphs are taking over!

Can I have some more coffee, please?
ShadowDragon8685 5th Aug 2013, 2:41 AM edit delete reply
If the necromorphs are taking over, you don't need more coffee, you need a plasma cutter, or possibly a lightsaber.
Raxon 5th Aug 2013, 3:06 AM edit delete reply
I needs the coffee sos I can keep doin my twitchy thing!
NoahTopHatz 4th Aug 2013, 3:17 PM edit delete reply
I will be fine with ads, as long as they don't make noise
Raxon 4th Aug 2013, 3:42 PM edit delete reply
Crawling in my mask,
These ears, they need some earplugs.
q97randomguy 4th Aug 2013, 4:05 PM edit delete reply
If/when I see a box indicating that an ad is being blocked, I will disable adblock for you. Though if it's possible to choose where they go on the page... the bottom probably wouldn't be a bad choice. (As long as they don't care where it goes.)

Keep up the great comics!
ShadowDragon8685 5th Aug 2013, 2:43 AM edit delete reply
Newbiespud: Sorry to be the voice of dissent, but...

I hate ads pathologically. I don't disable my adblocker for anyone or anything. So really, it won't affect me either way: you do what you gotta do, I (and anyone else like me) do what we gotta do.
Emmerlaus 5th Aug 2013, 11:36 PM edit delete reply
Im with ShadowDragon8685... I wouldnt disable ad block for anything in the world anyway... So go ahead and add them. :)
anon 5th Aug 2013, 8:47 AM edit delete reply
Do what you need to do. I'd unblock per your request.
sjosten 5th Aug 2013, 9:31 AM edit delete reply
Ads on the site sounds like a good idea. At least, presuming it's one of those things where the ads will be semi-related to the site. Otherwise, I'm substantially less enthusiastic about it.
Tatsurou 5th Aug 2013, 2:23 PM edit delete reply
I don't use Adblock. As long as the ads don't make noise, I'm fine with them, as long as they don't cut into the comic or the comment space. (As in, blocking part of one or the other.)
aqua 5th Aug 2013, 8:41 PM edit delete reply
as long as it isn't the pop up adds, or the invisible ads with sound that i can never find im fine with it
Jgame 4th Aug 2013, 7:45 PM edit delete reply
Hello, NewbieSpud. Haven't posted here before but I felt strongly enough about the ad problem that I decided to.

I personally want ads on this site. When I first found you, Spud, you were just starting the Philomena arc and I read all your comics in 1-2 days worth of entertainment for free.

And I think the occasional ad is well worth the price of free, especially for the entertainment value you've so far given me and will continue to give to me. (And this is with my RP experiences being one session of Vampire: The Masquerade and WoW RP a few times. Very little knowledge of DnD.)

All in all, NewbieSpud, I'm BEGGING you to put ads. Especially if it helps cover costs so you can spend more time on the comic.

CrowMagnon 4th Aug 2013, 8:05 PM edit delete reply
Spike here reminds me of the few times I've tried to GM. I don't know how much of it was me failing at my job and how much was my players just refusing to investigate things, but they tended to get pointed in the required direction by NPCs more often than was probably good for the game.
you know that guy 4th Aug 2013, 8:45 PM edit delete reply
This bugged me watching the show. Wouldn't she be in the tunnel with the least gems?
Guest 4th Aug 2013, 9:27 PM edit delete reply
The Diamond Dogs would have dug out most of the gems, so that has a good chance of not working (they'd surely depleted at least a few tunnels since they moved in). But if you go to the huge gem stockpile, the gem-detection spell will lead Rarity there eventually.
Phintias 5th Aug 2013, 8:24 AM edit delete reply
If I remember this correctly and I watched only up to Discord...(shame on me I know)
The spell makes it, so that the user can see gems glowing through the walls.
So knows were the most gems are and she WILL go there to get them.
So Idea of the group is: Go there first and find her directly or simply wait for her.

Also, now that I think about it, just look for gems that are moving, it's either Rarity herself or a Diamond Dog to Interregate.
sjosten 5th Aug 2013, 9:33 AM edit delete reply
That's actually a pretty good idea. I'm surprised I haven't heard anyone suggest it before now.
Tatsurou 5th Aug 2013, 9:08 PM edit delete reply
I interpreted it as Rarity left a little bit of her magic in the gems in the walls, and Twilight tracked that.

Course, I could be mistaken.
Emmerlaus 5th Aug 2013, 11:38 PM edit delete reply
Rarity KNOWS they are close... Im sure she will Bluff her way out by yelling and crying or something, so that the rest of the group hear her.

Beside, her treasure detection spell is unique... Would be a shame for Twilight to copy it, as its her "special talent" gained from her cutie mark...